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Pro-School-Logo original.jpgAC-CKAPCO L1 and L2 Combo CANOE CLASSES: Differ somewhat  from the ACA Model. Our L1 & L2 present similar material in 2 half day classes rather than 2 full day classes. AC-CKAPCO  L3, L4 and L5 Canoe classes are the same as ACA Formats in outline.

AC-CKAPCO L1 and L 2 Canoe Combo Course


Course Overview:

The L1 , (9 am until noon) L2 (noon until 4 pm) Combo Canoe  Course is designed as a 7 hour program emphasizing safety, enjoyment and skill acquisition including rescues for entry level Canoe students.


* CKAPCO provides the Tandem Canoe, [solo canoe on request] paddle, pfd and rescue gear. Participants can use their own equipment, but please let us know. Students bring water bottles and  lunch. Changing area and bathrooms are on site.


Prerequisite: None - designed for beginners and novices. Participants should be physically able to perform course content without assistance.


Course Duration: 7 hours


Location: Usually Antietam Creek, or Riley’s Lock Seneca, MD, Lake Audubon, Reston, VA .


Course Ratio: 1 Instructor to every 6 students (1: 6) / 2:12 with an additional instructor or qualified assistant


Successive Courses: L3 River Canoe, L4 WW Canoe, L5 Advanced WW Canoe


The following is a general summary of course content. Both content and sequence of instruction will be arranged to best fit the class needs, class location and time allowances.


Note Solo Boats are not part of L1 and L2 Classes without specific Instructor Permission.

Introduction & Logistics

·         Unload canoes and gear [cooperate]

·         Introduction of instructors and participants

·         Logistics: Overview of the course with expectations and boundaries.
Sequence, class times, regrouping, alternate plans.

·         Site specifics/procedures, including toilet facilities

·         Waiver/Assumption of Risk/Medical Form




  • Life Jackets will be worn at all times while on the water.

  • 3 Ws - wind, waves & weather awareness

  • Local Environments; tide, current, traffic, Site specifics etc

  • Hypothermia: Brief discussion on H.E.L.P, HUDDLE brochure.

  • Other equipment, litter, access, private property, courtesy, hygene etc.

  • Alcohol/Chemical Substance abuse

  • Paddle, hand & whistle signals


Equipment and Care – some info covered at lunch break

  • Personal Equipment: eye glass retainers, car key safety

  • Canoe: types, parts, materials and flotation

  • Paddle: types, parts, length and hand position, marking

  • Life jackets (PFDs):  fit and regulations Appropriate clothing, Shoes that wont fall off 

  • Additional  Equipment: Extra paddle, dry bags, water, food, sponge,
    bailer, hat, whistle, foot wear, sunscreen, first aid kit and location of equipment.

  • Instructor inspects any participant-owned gear


Getting Started

  • Warm up to reduce injury - paddling to warm up

  • Canoe carries [get help]

  • Car Topping: Loading  and unloading [get help], racks, tie down

  • Demo using straps or line and knots to secure craft to vehicle

  • Launching/landing from shore or docks

  • Canoe Trim, wind trim 

  • Posture, rocking, balance, loose hips

  • Basic Terminology/ Outfitting

  • How a tandem canoe "works", communication, who does what and how.



·         Forward, Forward with Switch, [rudder, pry correction]

·         Back

·         Stop

·         Bow draw, Bow Cross draw

·         Stern Draw, Stern Pry

·         Stern rudder and Pry Correction

·         Stern “Turn Initiation” Bow “Compliment”


Optional Strokes :

  • Forward and reverse quarter  sweeps, abeam draws, J strokes, 
    sculling strokes. Solo strokes when appropriate.



  • Spin: boat pivots in place R&L

  • Abeam: boat moves sideways without headway R&L

  • Forward & Back: boat goes forward and back  in a reasonably straight line

  • Stopping: boat stops within a reasonable distance

  • Wide Turns R&L (Stern Initiation, Bow Static Draw and Xdraw introduced).

  • Paddling as a group for a short tour


Rescue  [student's on water rescues can be wet or dry depending on weather & water temp.]

  • On land demo/discussion Wet exit, re-entry and rescue

  • Rescue Sequence: Reach, Throw, Row & Go (RETHROG)

  • Rescue Priorities: People [rescuer, group, public, victim] boats & gear

  • How to empty a canoe alone & with help, Swim and tow a swamped canoe

  • Gentle wet exit into water [no diving]

  • Boat over Boat  rescues and assisted re-entry [optional side by  side]

  • All participants are instructed and practice how to do a
    controlled capsize and an assisted and self rescue .

  • Discuss paddling alone -  risks



Conclusion / Wrap-up

  • Wrap up - Operation Paddle Safe Exam

  • Course limitations ,know your limits

  • Need for further instruction, practice and experience

  • Guidebooks and Videos

  • Need for First Aid and CPR training

  • Trip planning - 6P's: prior, proper planning prevents poor performance

  • Life sport/Paddling options

  • Level 3 River Canoe or retake the Combo

  • ACA Membership and Participation cards

  • Fond farewell

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